Module 4 Reading: Lithography and Presses

Oct 23

I found the descriptions of the innovations in printing to be very interesting this module. While we had already read about hand presses, it wasn’t until our reading about the “battle” between traditional letterpresses and chromolithography that I took a deeper interest in how these different methods work.

I know that letterpresses are pretty limited in what they can do, but I still think the results can look great. I found some modern versions of the hand press for pretty cheap on dickblick.com, and a quick search on the Internet yielded some neat modern pieces others have made. Some printers are making dies from digital fonts and then pressing them on paper–it reminds me of William Morris’ reimaginings of Renaissance-era typography. If I decide to get a press, though, I would be more excited about creating with wooden dies.

Source: mcescher.com

Source: mcescher.com

My interest was also piqued when the method of lithography was described. It’s one of those methods that seems like it should have been discovered centuries ago. It’s so intuitive to use oil-based ink to create prints on wet stone, and it makes me wonder why I didn’t think of it! M.C. Escher was a lithographer, but I never knew what that meant until now. It makes his works so much more amazing to know how they were made.

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